Portrait of Ms Justice Mary Laffoy unveiled by The Bar of Ireland
A portrait of Ms Justice Mary Laffoy by award-winning artist Hetty Lawlor has been unveiled as part of The Bar of Ireland’s International Women’s Day celebrations.
The portrait was commissioned in honour of the former Supreme Court judge’s extraordinary contribution to the legal profession, and will be on permanent display on the walls of the King’s Inns.
Ms Justice Laffoy, the current president of the Law Reform Commission, called to the Bar in 1971. She was appointed as a High Court judge in 1995 and elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.
She chaired the first Citizens’ Assembly from July 2016 to 2018 and was also appointed the first chairperson of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in 1999.
The portrait will be the third portrait of a woman judge to hang on the walls of the King’s Inns, joining the portraits of Susan Denham and Mella Carroll. It is the seventh portrait painted by a woman which will be on permanent display in the King’s Inns.
Ms Justice Laffoy said: “I am honoured to have my portrait join that of others on the walls of the King’s Inns, and I am especially honoured that it is the creation of such a talented, young female artist as Hetty Lawlor.”
Ms Lawlor said: “I was delighted to be approached by The Bar of Ireland to undertake this commission.
“When I first visited the King’s Inns in March of last year, I was struck by the lack of female subjects in its vast collection of artwork. It was therefore great to have been involved in enhancing the profile and the visibility of women in law.
“I am also personally delighted to see my work displayed alongside renowned Irish female artists Sarah Purser and Sarah Cecilia Harrison.”
Moira Flahive BL, chair of The Bar’s equality, diversity and inclusion committee, added: “Ms Justice Mary Laffoy is one of the most distinguished and accomplished figures in the legal profession and we are delighted to honour her tonight, as part of The Bar of Ireland’s International Women’s Day celebrations.
“She has been a fearless advocate for justice throughout her career and she has made a remarkable and indelible mark on the legal system. She is renowned for her integrity and she is a true role model for anyone, not just females, with aspirations for a legal career.
“The beautiful portrait by Hetty Lawlor will be a constant reminder of the contribution that she has made, for all future students passing through King’s Inns.
“Initiatives to enhance the visibility of leading women are emerging across a number of sectors and the Bar is playing its part to celebrate and to enhance the visibility of prominent female members of the legal profession.”